Tag: Textualism

Bad Plea Bargain Advice

Some sketches from today’s Supreme Court arguments in two cases of ineffective assistance of counsel during plea bargainning.

Anthony Cooper shot a fleeing woman in the legs. His lawyer advised him to reject the prosecutor’s offer of a reduced sentence in exchange for his plea of guilty telling him, erroneously, that because the wounds were below the waist he would be shielded from a charge of attempted murder.

The case is Lafler v. Cooper. Pictured above is Michigan Solicitor General John J. Bursch.  Below is the attorney arguing for Cooper, Valerie R. Newman. SC111031_Newman

In the second case, Missouri v. Frye, the defendant, charged with driving without a license was never told of a plea offer of 90 days, and wound up with a three year sentence.

Although a number of Justices seemed sypathetic to the poorly represented defendants. they questioned whether a real remedy was possible. Even the attorney representing Mr. Frye, Emmett D. Queener, conceeded, “There is never going to be a perfect remedy for any of these violations, I don’t believe”. SC111031_Queener

Huffington Post’s Mike Sacks has the “textualism” angle here.


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